A Record of Divorce or Annulment in Michigan

By Teo Spengler

The end of your marriage might seem like a private affair to you, but in the eyes of the state of Michigan, divorce and annulment are matters of public record as long as the file was not sealed by the court. Even the merely curious are entitled to obtain verification of these important changes in legal status and to request a certified document evidencing them. Given the fees involved, most requests for divorce records are likely to come from those with legitimate reasons for needing to know.

The end of your marriage might seem like a private affair to you, but in the eyes of the state of Michigan, divorce and annulment are matters of public record as long as the file was not sealed by the court. Even the merely curious are entitled to obtain verification of these important changes in legal status and to request a certified document evidencing them. Given the fees involved, most requests for divorce records are likely to come from those with legitimate reasons for needing to know.

Proof of Dissolution of Marriage

In the years following an annulment or divorce, either or both of the former spouses may need to prove their unmarried status. Insurance and title companies may require such proof, as well as banks, credit card companies and different social assistance agencies. Although your dissolution decree and order will establish that your marriage ended by divorce or annulment, you might not want to share all the information contained in that document. For example, it might include details regarding your parenting arrangements or financial matters. A divorce or annulment record is tailor-made to provide just the required information and nothing more.

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Michigan Divorce Record

In Michigan, any person who wants to prove that a marriage ended in annulment or divorce can do so. You'll need the names of both spouses, the county in which the marriage was dissolved, and the pertinent date. Additionally, a copy must have been filed with the state. Some records are sealed and these are inaccessible to the general public. However, courts seal divorce records very rarely in Michigan, and only upon a showing that the safety or privacy interests of the parties or their children outweigh the public interest. Allegations of domestic violence are one reason divorce records might be sealed.

Ordering the Divorce Record

To obtain a certified document called a "divorce record," download a form from the Michigan Vital Records Office website. Fill it in and send it by mail with the appropriate fee. Ordinary processing takes five weeks; for an extra fee, you can get the record in about two weeks, but an expedited request must be sent to a different address. For same day service, you can apply in person at 201 Townsend Street, Capitol View Building, Lansing, Michigan. This location is directly across the street from the State Capitol, and the office is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on business days.

Verification

In some cases, you might not need a certified divorce or annulment record. For example, if you already have one, you might only want to check to see if the record has been altered in any way. You can get any important fact of a Michigan divorce record verified, including names, date, and county of divorce or annulment, with the Michigan Vital Records Office. You must explain what information you want verified, and the office will tell you whether a record either is or is not on file matching the criteria you provided.

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Differences Between Divorce Decrees and Divorce Certificates

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